Another first time experience for me on my trip to Netherlands, other than flying with Icelandair, was using AirBnB. After signing up, I booked an amazing place in Amsterdam, a little flat close to everything. Unfortunately the host cancelled about 24 hours after accepting my booking. AirBnB and I were not off to a good start. Much of Amsterdam was booked up already!
Finally, I discovered an adorable, charming home in Amsterdam North. Our host accepted our booking right away. It was a new listing, but I was sure it would be a good fit. A few days before arriving, our host offered to pick us up from the free ferry. I didn’t even know about the free ferry, and she helped us find our way from AMS to the pickup location. It was a breeze! After helping us put our luggage into her car, she drove us about five minutes to her home.
I loved being in a neighbourhood that locals actually live in, such a contrast from the usual hotel on a busy street. Our host told us about the market nearby and a few places to check out. She let us into her sweet little home and went over everything, showing us around. After giving us the keys and wishing us well, she left.
Inside the AirBnB:
I was in heaven. Her home was adorable and clean and so un-Americanized. It was truly “gezellig” (a word you should learn if you ever go to Holland!). Although I didn’t find AirBnB that much cheaper than a hotel, you get the comforts of home, a personal host, and can possibly save money if you use the kitchen. It’s such a great way to learn more about how local people live. It’s also an opportunity to meet people, especially other travellers, and hear their story.
If I can give you any tips, it would be to find a great host. They can offer a wealth of knowledge that only someone local would know; they can help you with the language, transportation, sight-seeing, and finding places to eat. Your host should want to provide excellent service to get a great rating, so you should do the same and be a great guest. With AirBnB, you are rated too, so make sure to clean up after yourself, and respect their possessions (better than you would your own!). Remember that these people are putting a lot of trust in you, leaving you in their space, so treat the home as you would want someone to treat yours.
Overall, I would suggest giving AirBnB a try, and if you feel a little uncomfortable, try it at home first! There’s a ton of great places just around the corner.